Organised Anarchism in Oxford?

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May 8 2010 13:12
Organised Anarchism in Oxford?

I'm currently living/working in Oxford, and was wondering if their were any anarchist organisations/organised anarchists in Oxford?

(I saw there were some old threads on this topic, but I was unsure as to whether or not those discussions were still relevant).

From what I've seen, left politics here seem to be pretty mainstream. During the election campaign I saw a stall from the Communist Party and a stall from some guys calling themselves the 'Socialist Equality Party'. Other than that, all I've seen is the anti-vivisectionist campaigners.

Anyone know of anything else going on?

mons
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May 8 2010 15:48

Hi Auto,
Yeah there are a load of Trotskyists like Worker's Liberty, SP, SWP, etc. all with just a couple of members.
But there are also 2 (and I'm joining, so basically 3) members of Anarchist Federation in Oxford. There is a mailing list of about 20 anarchists in Oxford, and we're currently in the process of setting a fortnightly meeting time. PM me and I'll get you added to our mailing list.

There's also Thames Valley Climate Action who would claim to be anarchist-y, and are like the Oxford branch of climate camp. They meet most mondays I think at the, social centre in oxford: http://theoarc.org.uk/

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May 8 2010 15:57

Hi auto. I don't live in oxford now but the people in Oxford are a nice bunch.

Caiman del Barrio
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May 8 2010 16:08

Hey Auto didn't realise you left SE, good luck in Ox!

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May 9 2010 19:42

Hey Alan. Yeah, I had to leave cosy old London in order to get a job and save what little sanity I have left. It's not much, but it pays the rent. Sorry I couldn't do more with the South London Solfed, events conspired against me... though I hope you guys carry on the great work down there!

Tobias, I've just sent you a PM. smile

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May 9 2010 23:07

there was oxford IWCA, i don;t know what happened to them, a look over the election seems to suggest they didnt stand??

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May 10 2010 00:49

I tried to get in touch with them when I moved there and they didn't reply to me for a while and then were so cagey about whether they were doing anything I didn't bother.

mons
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May 10 2010 12:00

Yeah they are active I think. Perhaps we should try getting in contact with them..
But they have gone from a few councillors, down to two before this election, and lost one (where I think they didn't stand for re-election) to Labour this time. So now they just have one, in Blackbird Leys, which is a really deprived area. Their website (http://www.iwca-oxford.org.uk/blackbirdleys/) hasn't been updated for more than two years, which maybe suggests they're winding down. But they definitely still have on councillor (http://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/headlines/8154814.CITY_COUNCIL_ELECTIONS__Labour_tightens_grip_on_power/)

Auto, have you got the email I sent you? And you should now be on our little mailing list?

gypsy
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May 10 2010 13:18

I remember oisleep put a link up in another thread with a guy from the iwca in blackbirdleys saying that the police are paying drug dealers money in the area to act as informants. This was during a bbc big questions programme in oxford which was probly the most controversial thing ever said on that programme. So that was only a few months ago, so I would suggest they are still active.

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May 10 2010 13:26

Yeah, at the Community Action gathering there was a woman from Blackbird Leys who seemed to think the IWCA were still pretty active there. She seemed pretty sound (wasn't a member herself, sympathetic but critical), can't remember whether she mentioned any other activity in the area tho.

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May 10 2010 18:33

it was Oxford where the IWCA councillors voted against paying a living wage to Council workers, which is completely unforgivable, so people should be aware of that when deciding whether they want to have anything to do with them or not.

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May 10 2010 23:10

for the benefit of anyone who, unlike steven, is interested in the fuller picture of the episode, i'll repost what i post everytime steven comes out with his selective history of this episode

The IWCA put forward a redistributive amendment to the motion in favour of the increase in the minimum wage and showing how it could be paid for by a reduction in the salaries of higher paid council employees and reducing councillors' expenses and allowances - this was roundly defeated by all other parties who wanted it funded by an increase in council tax (one of the most regressive taxes around), a move which the IWCA felt unable to support

just because 'anarchists' like steven appear to be unconditionally in favour of increasing regressive taxation on the working class (as opposed to actually looking for progressive redistributive measures) it doesn't mean that anyone who doesn't go along with this rather bizarre and anti-working class measure should have their actions labelled as 'unforgivable'

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May 11 2010 04:59

Fair enough actually, what your describing doesn;t exactly sound 'unforgivable'. though it does highlight some of the problems associated with trying to ''administer capitalism'' so to speak, since you are inevitably left with a budget to balance but thats an arguement for another day I feel.

Anyways lets not derail the thread, people here are genuinely interested as to what the IWCA are up to in oxford, do you have any further info oisleep?

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May 11 2010 07:08
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it does highlight some of the problems associated with trying to ''administer capitalism'' so to speak

completely agree with this point, and it's a fair point for anyone to make

would be nice if it could be made honestly however without the kind of tabloid hysteria and dishonest portrayal steven displays everytime he comes out with this (and despite being given the fuller picture of what happened multiple times now, he still conviently forgets to mention these when he's telling us about what monsters iwca oxford are)

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May 11 2010 07:28

as to oxford iwca, pretty much at the stage where the narrow electoral element of that particular pilot exercise have begun to run it's course, the time/energy/resource demands that it brought (without any benefits being seen of being able to deepen or expand it) on activists in oxford is pretty much seen as detracting attention and sucking up too much energy away from other activities*

* other activities being the type of thing that they were all about in the first place (of which elecotral success was a by-product), i.e. working class self organisation in local communities, community pickets against dealers and anti-social behavior, social clubs, cinema clubs, football tournaments, community away days, SAT's booster courses for kids, work against divisive multicultural funding measures, etc, etc,,

for anyone's whose interested here's a couple of clips of stuart craft at a recent council meeting

http://meanwhileatthebar.org/IWCA/occ_190410a.mp4
http://meanwhileatthebar.org/IWCA/occ_190410d.mp4 (this one shows the labour majority council members walking out of chamber rather than answer stuart's awkward questioning on both the general issue of funding that divides communities and their diverting 'prevent violent extremism' money to people who later became labour councilor candidates)
http://meanwhileatthebar.org/IWCA/occ_190410f.mp4

gypsy
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May 11 2010 08:12
oisleep wrote:

http://meanwhileatthebar.org/IWCA/occ_190410a.mp4
http://meanwhileatthebar.org/IWCA/occ_190410d.mp4 (this one shows the labour majority council members walking out of chamber rather than answer stuart's awkward questioning on both the general issue of funding that divides communities and their diverting 'prevent violent extremism' money to people who later became labour councilor candidates)
http://meanwhileatthebar.org/IWCA/occ_190410f.mp4

Thanks oisleep really interesting stuff I am really interested in this segregation issue based on race and religion. As Stuart said its class which is the important issue. I really am impressed with him taking on these liberal councillors and showing them up.

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May 11 2010 08:11

few more here if anyone is interested

http://meanwhileatthebar.org/IWCA/occ_190410b.mp4 (council leader's reply to Stuart re attainment rates - blaming county council and academies, and future tory plans for schools - Stuart's response pulls him up for blaming academies on tories)

http://meanwhileatthebar.org/IWCA/occ_190410c.mp4 (new labour lackey antonia bance tells member of public to shut up)

http://meanwhileatthebar.org/IWCA/occ_190410e.mp4 (stuart on oxford east's labour MP andrew smith - and implictly the futility of it all)

gypsy
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May 11 2010 08:18

Ta

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May 11 2010 16:47
oisleep wrote:
for the benefit of anyone who, unlike steven, is interested in the fuller picture of the episode, i'll repost what i post everytime steven comes out with his selective history of this episode

The IWCA put forward a redistributive amendment to the motion in favour of the increase in the minimum wage and showing how it could be paid for by a reduction in the salaries of higher paid council employees and reducing councillors' expenses and allowances - this was roundly defeated by all other parties who wanted it funded by an increase in council tax (one of the most regressive taxes around), a move which the IWCA felt unable to support

just because 'anarchists' like steven appear to be unconditionally in favour of increasing regressive taxation on the working class (as opposed to actually looking for progressive redistributive measures) it doesn't mean that anyone who doesn't go along with this rather bizarre and anti-working class measure should have their actions labelled as 'unforgivable'

firstly, I meant to write "inexcusable", not "unforgivable".

Secondly, saying I'm in favour of increasing regressive taxation on the working class, in this instance council tax, is completely false, as I am completely opposed to it. I am in fact opposed to council tax as a whole.

Thirdly, I would like to see some evidence that the other parties stated they would increase council tax to pay for the move. As you should be aware council tax provides only a minority of council funding - 75% comes from other sources, mostly from central government. And over the past several years, most councils have been given sizeable increases in funding. Most councils also hold huge cash reserves, so quibbling over what to cut to pay for something else is an irrelevant side issue for socialists/communists/anarchists.

Finally, the government saying it will have to increase taxes on workers can be used as an excuse to block anything progressive at all - a free NHS, care for the disabled and elderly, pensions, whatever. Does that mean that if you are "progressive" you should oppose every progressive government policy, because some workers might have to pay more for it? Of course not.

On a more general note, as cartwheels pointed out above this episode demonstrates the complete bankruptcy of the IWCA's electoral project (as well as reformist electoral tactics in general). But even if you did want to play "political" games over what was more regressive - paying people below a living wage is more "regressive" than council tax, as those earning below a living wage are among the very poorest in society, not even earning the minimum amount necessary for an adequate standard of living. Whereas everyone is a council taxpayer, and the very poorest people, unemployed, students etc don't pay council tax. (But, I should be clear from my general view it is not worth playing these sort of political games, as the whole system is clearly biased against the working class, who lose out either way)

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May 11 2010 19:23

Well, I've just received word that I'm being kept on at work... a weight off the shoulders as I'm sure you'll understand. On the plus side, this means my stay in Oxford should be more long term.

Do we have any idea what the general make-up of Anarchist opinion is up here? Me myself, I'm a Syndicalist/Libertarian Socialist (though labels are obviously quite nebulous things).

Also, what are the current areas of struggle up here? I've been living here a fair few months now, but I've yet to get a good grip of what the local issues are.

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May 12 2010 11:03
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firstly, I meant to write "inexcusable", not "unforgivable".

regardless of what you term you meant to write, the bigger issue is that despite being fully aware of the actual details surrounding this episode, you purposefully did not mention these which conveniently allowed you to paint a rather binary tabloidesque picture of what happened. Instead of treating people who read these boards as rational thinking adults who, when in receipt of all necessary information, are able to make up their own minds about things (as cantdo for example demonstrated earlier), you instead take the somewhat vanguardist approach of making that decision on other people's behalf, choosing your line and limiting disclosure of the facts to support your flimsy and gross misrepresentation of the IWCA as being against the living wage.

This is by no means the first time you've done this in regards to this, and in the past I have politely responded, giving a fuller account of what actually happened in order that a more balanced and nuanced assessment of the situation could be made, both by you and others, yet for some reason you seem incapable of mentioning any of this in your drive to make up people's minds for them.

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Secondly, saying I'm in favour of increasing regressive taxation on the working class, in this instance council tax, is completely false, as I am completely opposed to it. I am in fact opposed to council tax as a whole.

Likewise, saying the IWCA is opposed to a living wage is completely false. If I was to play the same game as you Steven, I could just as 'legitimately' make the claim that you are in favour of increasing regressive taxation on the working class. It of course wouldn't be true, as it would be distorting the situation for sectarian purposes and not bringing all the facts into play - something you seem reasonably adapt at, and willing to do - as has been demonstrated here.

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Thirdly, I would like to see some evidence that the other parties stated they would increase council tax to pay for the move. As you should be aware council tax provides only a minority of council funding - 75% comes from other sources, mostly from central government. And over the past several years, most councils have been given sizeable increases in funding. Most councils also hold huge cash reserves, so quibbling over what to cut to pay for something else is an irrelevant side issue for socialists/communists/anarchists.

Not sure what planet you live on, but do you seriously think that if a local council decided to increase its committed annual expenditure (outwith of central govt approved areas) in its budget, all it need to do is give central govt a bell and they'd wire through the money? what you're saying here seems to put forward the view that councils, rather than being restrained by, and administers of, central govt policy, in fact have considerable freedom to do all manner of things which are then just placidly and unconditionally funded by central govt. Holding a view like this does however bring into stark contradiction your view that being elected to local councils is pointless because they have no power to do anything other than administer. So you can't have it both ways, if you are saying that any council can increase expenditure (over and above allocated budgets) as it sees fit and this will then be funded no problem, then you need to re-consider your views as councils as being powerless administers - as according to your view put forward here they would appear to have much more power than previously thought. The actual situation is somewhat more simple as you know fine well things like that wouldn't get funded from central govt and if implemented would have to be drawn out of existing budget (as for your suggestion that ongoing budgeted expenditure increases would be allowed to be paid out of cash reserves that's just nonsense). So having dealt with the inability of money to come from central govt or cash reserves for this, it leaves the issue of where would it come from - and your desire for evidence about other parties wanting to fund it from council tax. When the motion was first put forward, the IWCA put forward a resdistributive amendment, supporting the living wage but asking for a guarantee that it would not be funded by an increase in council tax (and put forward illustrations showing how it could be funded by redistributive measures like reducing salaries of executive and reducing councilors allowances/expenses). This motion was defeated by the ruling labour and libdem councilors. If there was no intention to raise regressive taxation to fund it there would have been no reason for labour/libdems to vote down the motion, but there was and they did.

Quote:
Finally, the government saying it will have to increase taxes on workers can be used as an excuse to block anything progressive at all - a free NHS, care for the disabled and elderly, pensions, whatever. Does that mean that if you are "progressive" you should oppose every progressive government policy, because some workers might have to pay more for it? Of course not.

of course not, but when provided with a situation where an increase in wages for low paid workers of a single council could be funded for by a) redistributive and progressive measures or b) regressive measures - holistically which option should be pursued and argued vigorously and publicly for? The IWCA in oxford knew fine well that their voting against the (non-redistributive) motion would not cause it to fail giving the balance of power in the chamber, so they were not denying an increase in wages to lower paid council employees, but it allowed them to push forward an agenda, in public, which argued for redistribution at the local level and publicly disclosed how these measures could be funded by progressive and redistributive measures. Your rather one sided view of this doesn't seem to care about whether actual redistribution (across income scales) occurs or not - and would see an increase in wages of council workers being offset by reduction in tax credits or increase in tax paid (coming out of the local area altogether) coupled with an increase in one of the most regressive taxes around. sure people who don't work don't pay council tax, but plenty of people who do work and are on low wages don't get much in the way of council tax rebate, so the regressive nature of the tax remains.

Quote:
On a more general note, as cartwheels pointed out above this episode demonstrates the complete bankruptcy of the IWCA's electoral project (as well as reformist electoral tactics in general)

no it doesn't actually. it shows that very little can be achieved directly and narrowly through electoral politics - but just as electoral success itself was a byproduct of the core activities of the IWCA, a by-product of electoral success was the opportunity to push, raise, pursue, and publicise the aim, need and argument for independent class based politics through a wider and more varied number of methods/outlets/avenues. TV and radio appearances which allowed class based arguments to be put across at the national level have all pretty much come about, in part, because of the profile of the IWCA's involvement in electoral politics. If you think an approach which allows this kind of platform to spread class based politics shows a bankruptcy of approach, then it shows how little you feel there is a need for that argument to be put across, widely and to those outside the ghetto, in the first place. My own view is that we failed to capitalise enough on the potential and enhanced platform that was made available through this type of 'bankrupt' activity. But as a tactic I still support it for that very reasons i've given above.

mons
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May 12 2010 16:53

allybaba or oisleep, could you say more about the IWCA accusation of police funding dealers? Or link to the thread where you mentioned it? Sounds interesting..

Well done on keeping your job Auto! I get the impression the TVCA crowd are part of the activist end of 'anarchism' (ie little or no emphasis on class struggle, focus on consensus, etc.) but are very nice. The few people who I've talked to who are part of the little 'Anarchists in Oxford' group have all been class struggle anarchists I think.

jef costello, what anarchists (or similar) did you know in oxford? Or what projects where they doing? Because they could well be totally different people to the people I know, and would probably be worthwhile communicating. Could you PM me? Cheers

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May 12 2010 18:31

Come to think of it, any are Antagonism folk still active in the area? This piece suggests they were Thames Valley-based. Dunno how you'd get in touch with them, though.

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May 13 2010 15:30
tobias wrote:
allybaba or oisleep, could you say more about the IWCA accusation of police funding dealers? Or link to the thread where you mentioned it? Sounds interesting..

Is this beyond using drug dealers as paid informants?

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May 13 2010 17:17
jef costello wrote:
tobias wrote:
allybaba or oisleep, could you say more about the IWCA accusation of police funding dealers? Or link to the thread where you mentioned it? Sounds interesting..

Is this beyond using drug dealers as paid informants?

I doubt it.

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May 14 2010 15:42

Just to say - I think the IWCA were correct to put forward the amendment for funding the pay rise, but incorrect to vote against it. It was a mistake, but hardly unforgivable and the difficulties of managing the ongoing destruction of the working class are presumably one of the reasons they have decided to step back from reformist electoral politics.

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May 19 2010 18:21

Organised Anarchism... isn't that kind of a contradiction?

radicalgraffiti
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May 19 2010 21:42
Quintonimo wrote:
Organised Anarchism... isn't that kind of a contradiction?

ha ha, we've never heard that before.

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May 19 2010 21:47

i'd say it's more a kind of antagonism

slothjabber
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May 19 2010 22:19
Quintonimo wrote:
Organised Anarchism... isn't that kind of a contradiction?

As this user only joined today, we can assume one of two things:

1 - they're a troll; or
2 - they really don't know.

So assuming the later, no, Quintonimo; the reason the Anarchist symbol is an 'A' and an 'O' is because Order comes from Anarchy. What we have now is an 'anarchic' system (a disordered one) and through the application and adoption of Anarchist principles (ie, through freedom) we arive at an 'ordered' (or harmonious) system.

Organisation isn't the opposite of freedom. Only when the organisation starts giving orders is it a problem.

So 'organisation' is not contrary to Anarchism, but co-ercion is..

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May 19 2010 23:26
Quote:
the reason the Anarchist symbol is an 'A' and an 'O' is because Order comes from Anarchy.

I'm sure someone told me once that this is apocryphal, and it's actually originally some Masonic symbol or summat.